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Operational guideline: Development and implementation of management oversight bodies

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1. Purpose

This document provides guidance to Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Area management on the formation and use of management oversight bodies to support reasonable and justifiable decision making in response to non-compliance in the food business line. This guidance may be used when the Standard Regulatory Response Process (SRRP) indicates that management oversight is recommended.

This document is intended to be used in conjunction with other guidance as referenced in Section 3.0.

Note: CFIA policies and procedures make reference to management oversight bodies, management review teams and triage committees. For the purpose of this guidance, management oversight bodies and related teams will be referred to as oversight bodies.

2. Authorities

The inspection powers, control actions and enforcement actions authorized by the above legislation are identified and explained in the Operational guideline – Food regulatory response guidelines.

3. Reference documents

4. Definitions

Unless specified below, definitions are located in either the:

5. Acronyms

Acronyms are spelled out the first time they are used and are consolidated in the Food business line acronyms list.

6. Operational guideline

This guidance should be used by decision makers within Operations Branch at the Area or Regional level who are tasked with receiving recommendations from inspection staff to determine the most appropriate enforcement action or licence action in response to non-compliance.

6.1 What is an oversight body

An oversight body is a team with expertise or knowledge concerning inspection, compliance and enforcement options available in response to non-compliance in the food business line. As best practice, the team should be an established group of existing positions with core members capable of analyzing the outcomes of inspections or investigations and providing advice to the decision maker on the appropriate regulatory response(s). Membership of an oversight body may be modified for a specific case or situation as required. An example of existing oversight bodies are Management Review Teams (MRTs) (Meat). Examples of team members are listed in Section 6.5 – Members of the oversight body.

It is important to note that a management oversight body is not a decision making body. The decision maker, usually a Director of Operations or Senior Director of Operations, receives recommendations from the oversight body. Any final decision must always be made by the person with legislative authority to do so. For example, in the case of suspension or cancellation of a Safe Food for Canadians (SFC) licence, the decision must be made by a person delegated the authority of the Minister to suspend a licence under SFCR 35 or cancel a licence under SFCR 39.

6.2 Why is an oversight body required

In keeping with the recommended oversight described in the SRRP, the CFIA decision maker is encouraged to consult oversight bodies when considering the outcomes of an Enforcement and Investigation Services (EIS) investigation or a recommendation for suspension or cancellation of an SFC licence. Members of the team may provide opinions or insights that contribute to an outcome consistent with the CFIA's Compliance and enforcement policy.

Oversight bodies should include representation from other regions and national areas as needed. The decision maker should consult peer membership in the oversight body including representation from other regions. This approach encourages consistency and accesses a range of experience and expertise.

6.3 When should the oversight body be formed or consulted

The oversight body may be consulted in the following scenarios:

The decision maker may request the recommendation of an oversight body if an Inspector's Non-Compliance Report or a letter of action on a licence requires a decision.

Oversight bodies may not be required in all situations and are only involved if the decision maker requires additional input. If required, the oversight body should be engaged after the decision maker has reviewed the case and is considering factors that will contribute to a decision.

6.4 Formation of the oversight body

The decision maker will request the Inspection Manager (IM) or suitable appointee assume the role of oversight body lead. The lead will:

6.5 Members of the oversight body

The team may consist of any number of persons within the CFIA to provide expertise or knowledge. Some or all members of the team may already have knowledge of the profile case.

It is considered best practice for the oversight body to consist of a core team however membership of the oversight body is flexible (case specific) and may consist of some or all of the following CFIA roles:

Note: senior management has requested that Legal Services be engaged on files related to licence cancellation.

6.6 Document review

The oversight body reviews the details of the regulatory response recommendation to ensure the response will be objective, fair, effective, predictable and transparent as per the Compliance and enforcement policy. To do so, the oversight body:

The following documents will be reviewed by the team, as applicable:

6.7 Record keeping

Any processes and recommendations of the oversight body should be recorded. Document and record the oversight body's process and recommendation in RDIMS and in accordance with the established protocols as directed in the Guide to the Transmission, Storage and Destruction of Protected and Classified Information (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 3707409).

An example record keeping template is provided in Appendix 1. For recommendations for licence action, the IM and Minister's delegate should populate and sign the Recommendation for a Licence Action Form (accessible only on the Government of Canada network – RDIMS 10461441) as applicable.

6.8 Communication pathway

The over sight body lead is responsible to deliver the oversight body's recommendations to the Minister's delegate.

Note: the Minister's delegate must inform the CFIA President's Office of all SFC licence suspensions and cancellations.

7. Appendices

Appendix 1 - Example template for process and recommendation record keeping

Date Oversight Body Members Issue/File Discussion Points References Recommendations Final decision made by decision maker
- - - - - - -
- - - - - - -
- - - - - - -
- - - - - - -

For general inquiries related to this Operational Guidance Document, please follow established communication channels, including submitting an electronic Request for Action Form (e-RAF).

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